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Criminal convictions don't have to dog you forever

How many of us would like a do-over for some aspect of our lives? Or at least the chance to stop worrying about having a mistake from the past come back to bite us? When it comes to a criminal conviction in Florida, there are circumstances that could allow you to essentially set aside a criminal conviction.

In this process, known as expungement, your conviction is essentially sealed off from public view. While certain law enforcement agencies could still examine it -- based on very specific circumstances -- for all intents and purposes, your record won't reflect your conviction.

This could have major positive benefits in your life. For example, when you apply for a job, you may be asked if you have been convicted of a felony. In general, if your record has been expunged, you can accurately say that you have no felony convictions.

Additionally, this means that standard background checks, whether conducted by employers, landlords or financial institutions, also will not show any evidence of a criminal record. This could make the difference if it comes down to being hired by a desirable company, signing a lease on an apartment or a car, or even qualifying for a loan.

Clearly, these types of decisions affect not only you but your family members. The last thing you want to do is make life more difficult for your loved ones in terms of your earning potential or ability to secure a good place to live because of a past conviction.

As with many aspects of criminal law, this possibility does not necessarily apply to everyone. Convictions for very serious crimes are not always eligible for expungement, and you may not be eligible if you have any pending criminal cases against you.

If you think you would benefit from expungement, get in touch with a South Florida criminal defense attorney to discuss your situation and how you may be able to have this part of your history hidden from public view.

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